Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ms. Kitten and Mr. Lincoln

Out of all of the monuments and memorials in DC, the Lincoln Memorial is my favorite. If you think it resembles a Greek temple, you have good reason: it was designed to look like one.

Regardless of the angle from which you approach the Lincoln Memorial, it looks majestic, imposing, amazing...a grand tribute to a grand man.

I love the Lincoln Memorial for all of the symbolism in its design. There are 36 columns around the building, each representing one of the states that was in the Union upon Lincoln's death. The names of these states are carved directly above each column. The names of the 48 states in the Union when the Memorial was completed in 1922 are carved in the exterior attic walls. A plaque in the plaza commemorates the admission of Alaska and Hawaii.

Photographs do not do this monument justice. It looks even more spectacular from the air, as you approach landing at Reagan Airport.

Here's a view of the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool from the top of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

And here's Honest Abe himself. Legend has it that the sculpture's designer, Daniel Chester Finch, designed it so that Lincoln's left hand would sign the ASL letter A, and his right hand would sign the ASL letter L. The close-up of the statue in the brochure at the Lincoln Memorial seems to indicate this, but no one knows if this was done on purpose.

Legend also has it that Robert E. Lee's image is carved into Lincoln's right profile view, but I haven't been able to see a good photo of this to judge for myself.

So much has happened at the Lincoln Memorial. Marian Anderson once sang there. It was the spot from where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech (a spot that is marked permanently in the steps now). A drum corps band played there this past July 4th.

Sadly, I didn't get to visit this majestic spot at night, when it is at its most regal and splendid. That is for my next trip to DC, to take a nighttime monument tour. I hope I get to go back soon.

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